Innovative Sustainable Agriculture

In response to stagnant commodity prices and the rising costs of cropping inputs, the consumption of Nitrogen and Phosphorus fertiliser inputs has been steadily declining since 2000. Consequently many agricultural farming systems are producing crops on a negative fertiliser budget. This is unsustainable both from an economic and a natural resource perspective. Additionally there is a low frequency of legume crops included in a typical crop rotation further adding to negative fertiliser budgets.

A small demonstration project funded by North West Local Land Services in N.S.W. aims to: 

1.  Identify legume species suitable for the Border Rivers-Gwydir catchment.

2.  Assess the feasibility of opportunity cropping summer legumes to:

  • provide mineralized Nitrogen,
  • provide valuable ground cover during early summer and
  • Improve soil organic matter and carbon through the techniques of green manuring and carrying the crop to harvest.

3.  Identify the contribution of summer legumes within a cropping rotation toward sustainable farming systems as a crop with multiple purposes including, grain fodder and ground cover

4.   Assess the contribution of summer legumes within a cropping rotation for positive economic and environmental outcomes:

  • by increasing soil Nitrogen,
  • from their ability to produce high levels of ground cover/biomass and
  • their profitability beyond any net income from the harvestable commodity.